Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

drooling HomerYeah, I know. it’s been a while. Stuff happens. Life happens. This is not news.

But I ran across this today, and given my proclivity to take any opportunity to point out how pathetically stupid some of our fellow human beings are it warranted an airing . . . no pun intended.

I’ve been reading a lot about meteorology as it pertains to the mechanics of weather. Nothing too heavy but I like to get a look under the hood of things sometimes. Now, I can write the following and to most people it will be obvious: Weather is not only affected by, but also caused by a host of factors. Pretty basic, right?

Mountains affect air flow, vertically and horizontally; moisture in air causes condensation, thus snow, rain, hail, etc; temperature differences create pressure differences, and those pressure differences drive winds; ocean currents affect weather patterns; Earth’s rotation has an affect on pressures and winds, something known as the Coriolis Effect. Nothing super fancy there, and when you stop and think about them they make sense.

I don’t think it unfair to say most everyone has heard of El Niño or El Niña. Here’s some info from NOAA’s site (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration):

El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, as opposed to La Niña, which characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. El Niño is an oscillation (think of water in the bath tub when it sloshes back and forth) of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather around the globe.

Among these consequences are increased rainfall across the southern tier of the US and in Peru, which has caused destructive flooding, and drought in the West Pacific, sometimes associated with devastating brush fires in Australia.

You get the point. These two anomalies of our planet’s weather system can wreak havoc.

I would also bet that most people (before today I probably would have said “all” people) know that it is called El Niño. As it turns out, not so.

This little story doesn’t come from some bygone generation, so the excuse of “modern technological advances” can’t be used. This happened back in December 1997. This story is taken from the book Freaks of the Storms by Randy Cerveny. The story was reported by a reporter named Buck Wolf for an ABC News affiliate in California.

There was a 74-year-old “retired Nay seaman with the unfortunate name Al Nino. During the 1997 wet El Niño winter many people called Nino’s home, apparently holding him personally responsible for the rainy weather.

I know. I know. It sounds incredibly made up. Nobody’s that stupid, right? Sadly, this is a true story. Yes, there’s more.

Nino said that he tried to be polite to the callers but that he really didn’t understand why people would think the much maligned weather phenomenon would have its own telephone number. (Touchè, Al!) Nino’s strangest phone call was from a man who held Nino responsible for his daughters’s loss of virginity, because she was unable to get home one night after a major rainstorm. “I said I was sorry, although I assured him I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Wow. I’m at a loss for words.

How do people of that particular strain of stupidity actually get through life? It’s a damn good thing the brain stem controls involuntary functions, like, oh, breathing. What amazes me more is these same morons figured out how to use a telephone. We can put people into earth orbit upon a space station but we can’t convince our own species that intelligence is in it’s best interest. As I have pointed out before we often reward stupidity, hell, we celebrate it!

Albert Einstein said it best: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” You can bet your last breath the latter is true.

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To be equal to, not greater than.

This is an idea contrary to our very nature. A man, when seated next to his dog, is not equal to the dog (although solid arguments can be made as proof of that concept).

Man with dogs on benchMan and dog have different natures; the ‘nature’ of something, that which makes it what it is, is held to account by laws insurmountable by man. Men (and women) and dogs — and cats and trees and birds and flowers and the rocks themselves — have different natures. Place a labrador next to a chihuahua and while the breed is different they share the same nature. Same with male and female.

That having been said, a chihuahua is by far the more comical canine. In that regard it has no equal.

Man, when seated next to his dog is superior to his canine friend. That is part of Nature’s law.

But let’s return to the man and woman.

Why should any man want to be superior to a woman when both share the same nature? Is there not a stronger balance and a more resonant harmony when one is equal to, not greater than, the other?

I’m not stupid enough to think we don’t have differences and disagreements, that we don’t come from widely disparate backgrounds and environments. These things are cause for friction, to be sure, but they are equal to both natures.

Indeed, we have different levels of intelligence and tolerance, different ideas about money and politics, about laughter and passion. Money and politics appeal to our material and corrupt natures. Laughter is a great purger, a perfect means to cleanse the soul of cancerous darkness; passion, in all its exuberant forms, gives our ambitions and higher selves wings and air currents to loft us closer to the touch of God.

I ask again: what elevates one above another?

I make no secret of my disdain for stupid people. Don’t deride me because the fact is I’m right and each of us knows it — stupid people are not figments of our lesser imaginations, they truly exist. A sad misstep in man’s nature to be sure. Perhaps in this regard alone would I consider myself superior to another.

I don’t mean “stupid” because someone doesn’t know what I know. That concept alone can most always make for wholesale improvements on both sides of the fence. We all know the kind of knuckle dragging, mouth breathing brand of idiocy I’m alluding to. [Congress, anyone?]

Notice the important distinction — not empirical but to-the-bone, flat out stupid.

Yeah, I’m better than that person.

I am not, however, perfect. I make no claim to that effect.

I am far more susceptible to the haunts of my demons than to the embrace of my angels. James Madison once wrote that there are no angels among the ranks of men, for if there were we would have no need for government. I petition for the intercession of my angels all the time. Why? Because I am human.

Angels are not to be confused with stupid people (or Congress). Angels are far better equipped to forgive morons. That makes them truly blessed.

Thayer Angel

I shall never be equal to — nor greater than — angels, certainly not while I still draw breath.

I shall forever be imperfect — for that is my nature.

I shall always seek and hope for the best in my equal. Surely she will be an angel.

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We are the Sun’s dependents. We Terrans are in the peculiar position of being reliant on our parent star for everything—without it we don’t just die . . . we become extinct. And she’s waking up again, after a decade-long nap, to see if we are listening to Nature itself.

Yesterday the sun bombarded the Earth with a wave of charged particles, called a coronal mass ejection (CME). This CME is believed to be the beginning of a new cycle of heightened solar activity; these occur every 11 years. Incredibly, scientists predictions for the arrival of the wave were off (early) by only 13 minutes.

News reports this morning said that the solar flares were so massive that people as far south as New York were able to see spectacular aurora displays, created when charged particles from the Sun encounter Earth’s magnetic field.

As phenomenal as that kind of natural light show is it is also a sure enough sign that the universe is providing an unmistakable window for us to look through, a gargantuan magnifying glass turned the other way ’round that reminds us just how puny we are among the stars—and how little true power we possess.

Astronomers and astrophysicists have peered into a minuscule portion of the most inactive, mundane piece of galactic real estate they could imagine with Hubble (how small? Take a penny and hold it at arms length—then look at the size of Lincoln’s eye) and discovered over one thousand other galaxies of varying sizes and intensity.

Who’s to say there’s not another species out there looking back at our tiny blue marvel and wondering the same thing, perhaps as equally in awe as we are of Nature’s potency.

Newton thought the apple a grand metaphor for a far larger force at work; Galileo and Copernicus saw far greater potential in telescopes than for merely keeping an eye on the far horizon for uninvited guests. So compelling were these new frontiers of rational thought and exploration that the mighty Catholic church—as it has persisted in doing over the centuries—decided it and it alone would be the judge of what lay outside our tiny island of improbable miracles. That has always struck me as one of historiy’s most astonishing ironies—that the church would have the pathetic hubris to define the very thing which Providence put there to begin with. Quite literally “But for the grace of God go we.”

When will mankind take genuine notice of elements so powerful as to be nearly unfathomable to us? When will honest men realize that we must stand for a greater good, for one another, brother and sister, or be all too easily reduced to the cosmic dust we came from.

The Sun is whispering to us. Over the next year she will raise her voice repeatedly.

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